March 1, 2021

The military restoration of Rembrandt


The restorers of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam call it "Operation The Night Watch". And is not for less. Rembrandt's masterpiece will be subjected to an exhaustive restoration process over the next ten months, and a whole contingent of military characteristics has been devised to avoid the slightest risk. This painting of almost 350 kilos of weight has moved on rare occasions during the last 150 years, and, despite not leaving the museum itself at any time, the designed protocol is worthy of a meeting of the G-10. A week ago, the painting was removed from its usual exhibition location and moved to a "waiting room". During these days, and in that same place, a glass box of seven square meters has been assembled in which the restoration will take place. Tomorrow, Sunday, when the last visitors have left the Rijksmuseum, the "critical hours" will begin. Twenty-five workers will move the painting from the "waiting room" to the glass box built in its usual place of exhibition. From Monday morning, visitors will be able to contemplate the restoration process on site, as if it were an installation or a performance. But not everything ends there: millions of viewers will be able to follow day by day the evolutions of the restoration through its streaming broadcast. What has always been a silent, intimate process, carried out at the back of the world, will now become a spectacle destined to generate a continued attention towards the museum. Revolution? Not so much. In art there are few things to be retransmitted. The French Orlan retransmitió, in 1993, his seventh operation of aesthetic surgery for diverse spaces of art of the world while public and experts discussed in round tables on such fact. The American Bob Flanagan devised a post-mortem work in which he would place a camera in his coffin so that the spectator could contemplate his corpse decompose. What has been said: art has entered all places and times imaginable. Nothing escapes him. It is the new Big Brother. The difference between the public and the private sector has not existed for a long time. That is why it should not surprise this "strip-tease" that the twelve curators of the Rijksmuseum are going to realize during the next months. If it is not possible to walk Beyoncé through all the museums in the world to popularize your brand, you will have to throw away whatever you have. And the restoration of Rembrandt's "The Night Watch" is no small feat.

. (tagsToTranslate) paper



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